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Herberg... Girls XC Athlete of the Year

01/22/2018, 11:00am PST
By OC Varsity

Original Article

Orange County girls cross country athlete of the year: Capistrano Valley’s Haley Herberg

 

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Capistrano Valley senior Haley Herberg is the OC Register’s 2017 All-County girls cross country Athlete of the Year. Photographed in Santa Ana on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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PUBLISHED: December 18, 2017 at 7:18 pm | UPDATED: December 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm

The 2017 cross country season was redemptive for Capistrano Valley’s Haley Herberg.

The Oklahoma-bound senior finished her 2016 season in unfamiliar positions – eighth at CIF-SS Finals and 21st at CIF State.

Herberg put in a year of training and focus, and she finished 2017 where she wanted to be – on top.

Herberg won the Orange County Championships, CIF-SS Finals and CIF State titles, and for these accomplishments she has been selected as the Register’s girls cross county athlete of the year.

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  • Capistrano Valley senior Haley Herberg is the OC Register’s 2017 All-County girls cross country Athlete of the Year. Photographed in Santa Ana on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Capistrano Valley senior Haley Herberg is the OC Register’s 2017 All-County girls cross country Athlete of the Year. Photographed in Santa Ana on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Capistrano Valley’s Haley Herberg is the girls cross country Athlete of the Year and El Toro’s Ken Chai is Coach of the Year, part of the OC Register’s 2017 All-County girls cross country team. Photographed in Santa Ana on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Capistrano Valley senior Haley Herberg is the OC Register’s 2017 All-County girls cross country Athlete of the Year. Photographed in Santa Ana on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)​​​​​​​

Capistrano Valley senior Haley Herberg is the OC Register’s 2017 All-County girls cross country Athlete of the Year. Photographed in Santa Ana on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“It’s absolutely exceeded my expectations,” Herberg said of her season.

Herberg won seven of her 11 races this season with two third-place finishes – both personal records at their respective distances – and fourth once. The other was at the Nike Cross Nationals where she earned All-America honors by finishing in 17th place.

Herberg’s season kicked into gear with an incredible 16-minute time at the Woodbridge Classic followed by a late pull-away win at the Dana Hills Invitational.

“I felt really fast (at Woodbridge),” Herberg said. “ At Dana Hills, I saw that Woodbridge wasn’t a fluke. Having to battle and outkick Kristin Fahy (of La Costa Canyon) … Dana Hills was where I thought I might have it.”

From there she won the O.C. Championships title, a league title and had a win at the CIF-SS prelims.

 

As the final two CIF meets approached, Herberg did all she could during the week to be at her best. She tapered her training and wore the most comfortable shoes she could find all the time.

Her training regimen and consistency paid off with a 40-second improvement at CIF-SS Finals and a minute-plus improvement at state.

“I felt a lot better this year than last year going into state,” Herberg said. “I had kind of fallen off going into finals last year. There’s only so much your mind can do and sometimes your body just doesn’t respond.”

In the 2017 title races, Herberg’s mind was set and her body followed to championship glory.

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